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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): How Kim Coates prepared for Tig's torment on 'Sons of Anarchy'

Since we know a lot of people are currently marathoning Sons of Anarchy from the beginning because of the buzz surrounding season 5, we’ll issue a SPOILER ALERT. Stop reading now if you haven’t watched SOA‘s season 5 premiere. In an excerpt from an article originally published in September, actor Kim Coates takes us inside Tig’s first run-in with Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) — which found its way onto our list of the most disturbing TV scenes ever. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): How Walton Goggins became Venus Van Dam

Sons of Anarchy fans had no idea that Justified star Walton Goggins had filmed a guest spot for season 5 until he made his entrance as transgender escort Venus Van Dam, hired to help Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and the motorcycle club blackmail a city council member with a memorable photo shoot. Here, in an interview originally published after the October episode aired, Goggins explains how he and SOA creator Kurt Sutter created one of the greatest guest spots ever. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: This was one of the greatest things we’ve seen in a long time, made even better because no one knew it was coming. How did it happen?
WALTON GOGGINS: Kurt, at one point, had done an interview with somebody and said the only two people who I could never have on the show are [Michael] Chiklis and Goggins, because of how closely relatable they are to their characters on The Shield. It would be very hard for our audience to accept them as anybody else. I called and said, “That’s bulls—! Come on!” And we went back and forth, like how would we do it? I wouldn’t want to do it as anything that would be compared to The Shield. And then I just said to him, “I’ll do it if I can be a transgender. I would like to play a transgender.” He said, “No, you wouldn’t.” I said, “Oh yes, absolutely, I would. Let’s do it as a transgender.” This conversation was like a year and a half ago.

He texted me while I was filming [Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained] down in New Orleans, and he said, “Were you serious?” I said, “About what?” He said, “Are you going to play Venus Van Dam?” I said, “Have you written it?” And he said, “Yes.” I said, “Send me the pages.” And I just fell in love with her immediately. It was really important to both of us that we really go there, we make her a three-dimensional person with feelings. Sassy, sweet, smart, and beautiful. Try to make her as beautiful as I can be — it takes a lot of work for me as a straight man much less as a woman to be anything close to beautiful. We had such a good time. He had written her in a way that I would want to hang out with her. It’s a woman who I would want to be around. READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): 'Sons of Anarchy' says goodbye to Opie

Death can make for great drama on a series like FX’s Sons of Anarchy – but it can also break a lot of hearts. Such was the case on Sept. 25 when SAMCRO member Harry “Opie” Winston (Ryan Hurst) was fatally beaten in retaliation for the death of a rival’s daughter. Here, in a piece originally published as Sons of Anarchy scored its first Entertainment Weekly cover, Hurst and Charlie Hunnam (Jax) take us inside filming Opie’s final moments (and how they said goodbye to the beloved character afterward).

For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

Ryan Hurst first learned about his character’s fate in April, when he received a call from creator/executive producer Kurt Sutter while he was (strangely enough) hosting a wake for a friend.

“I couldn’t stop crying. I tried to talk him out of it,” recalls Hurst, who played Horatio to Jax’s Hamlet since the drama’s pilot. “I went through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief. He wasn’t sure of the particulars yet, just that it was gonna be bloody and gonna be noble… I didn’t see the way that it served the story. But then again, it’s not necessarily my position to comment on that. It’s Kurt’s show that he created, and whether it’s the right decision or the wrong decision, remains to be seen.”

The table read for Hurst’s final episode titled “Laying Pipe” was particularly upsetting, recalls Charlie Hunnam (Jax). “We finished reading the script and basically sat crying in silence for about 45 minutes afterwards. None of us could go back to work. It was such a profound thing.” So Hurst made sure his last day was memorable. Though only Jax, Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) and Tig (Kim Coates) appeared in the prison death scene, Hurst asked that all of his SAMCRO brothers stand in his sight line when he received the fatal blow to his head from a pipe. “I wanted everybody to stand behind the camera for the last shot so I could look at them. If you look at that last shot of Opie, he is just looking at all my brothers, and saying… thank you.”

What Hurst didn’t expect was how hard it was going to be to let go of Opie. Recalls Hunnam, “This is the first experience he’s ever had where the character will not die. Opie was alive and well inside him and had unfinished business.  And he didn’t know how to kill Opie. In an act of desperation, he found himself online at 4 in the morning. He said there were a thousand books to help actors with character development but not one on how to kill the f—er when you are done. So, I said, ‘Why don’t you come to my house, man, and we’ll do this really right. I’ll get a few of the boys there and we’ll cut your beard off as that’s ultimately going to be the final farewell.'”

Hunnam gave Hurst a parting gift of a samurai sword that he and Boone were going to use to remove Hurst’s scruffy beard. “I started crying, and then Boone started crying,” Hunnam said. “By the end of it, it was the catharsis that we’d all hoped it would be.”

READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy': Donal Logue hints that mysterious Lee Toric could hang around for season 6

Donal Logue and Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter had talked for a few years about Logue guesting on the show, but the timing never worked. And Logue’s happy about that now, because he loves the role he ended up with: Artaud-reading former U.S. Marshal Lee Toric, the brother of the nurse (Logue’s real-life sibling Karina Logue) that Otto (Sutter) killed in prison.

On a conference call with reporters today, Logue explained his take on the character and the meaning behind his book choice in last night’s episode, and teased that next week’s season finale may not be the last we see of him: “I think it’s fair to say that whatever he’s got to do might take a while to do,” he said. “I think Lee Toric is a pretty significant threat to these guys, and I’m implying that it could go somewhere deeper and further.” READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy': Jax's next move? -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

If you’ve seen the promo for the Nov. 27 episode of FX’s Sons of Anarchy, “Darthy,” you know Damon Pope expects Jax to deliver Tig now, and if he doesn’t, Pope will take Jax’s family instead. So what’s Jax play? Could our exclusive clip below provide a clue? READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy': Five teases for tonight's episode, 'To Thine Own Self'

Tonight, Sons of Anarchy (FX, 10 p.m. ET) continues to earn the title it’s given on EW’s new cover — the most badass show on TV. Here are five teases:

1. That turn Jimmy Smits told us Nero would soon be taking? As you can probably tell from the photo above, it’s time. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy': Jimmy Smits says nice guy Nero takes a turn 'soon'

strong suit in terms of writing is that he lays the groundwork and then blows it up so that nothing is what it really seems. It’s definitely gonna take a turn. You can’t have this guy who’s an ex-gangbanger and not see a little bit of that come out.” READ FULL STORY

'Castle,' 'Criminal Minds,' 'American Horror Story,' 'Arrow': Find out what's next in the Spoiler Room


It is trying times for some here on the east coast, but as many have said much more eloquently this week, we soldier on.

Here’s some scoop. I hope it makes you smile no matter where you live.

CASTLE CHRISTMAS EP SCOOP
Castle is doing its first Christmas episode! And while I was chatting with executive producer Andrew Marlowe about Castle’s slate of November episodes, I made sure to ask him about this hotly anticipated hour, which will be the show’s last new episode of 2012 (aka: midseason finale).

Per the boss, the “charming and heartfelt” episode will chronicle Castle and Beckett’s first Christmas as a couple. “We’ll see the pressures of that and what each of their personal traditions are and how those might clash — and complement each other,” says Marlowe. Meanwhile, fans to see Christmas through the eyes of lots of our precinct faves. “[We’ll see] what Esposito is doing for Christmas, what Lainey is doing for Christmas — and what they may or may not be doing together, and Ryan is having a little Christmas crisis of his own,” he says.

There’s also a Santa falling from the sky (Marlowe jokes that we should not to watch with Santa-loving children “unless you want to have to explain some stuff”) and a gift exchange to remember. Oh, and those of you claiming it’s time for the Ryan family to expand? “We certainly plant some seeds about that in the Christmas episode,” he teases.

CRIMINAL MINDS: MORE ON REID’S MYSTERY WOMAN!
You learned earlier today that Michelle Trachtenberg is going to go crazy on Criminal Minds! (You’re welcome.) But what I’m sure especially caught your eye was the tidbit where I told you that the episode would delve deep into Reid’s mystery woman. An additional nugget? It’s one of TWO upcoming episodes that will introduce us to this yet-unseen woman a bit more. (The identity of the actress is still a technical secret, but I can tell you that I have seen correct guesses.)

Executive producer Erica Messer tells me that episode 10 and 12 — the latter has Trachtenberg — will both inform audiences about who this woman is and show us a bit more of her unique relationship with Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler). (Also, she will be unmasked!) “Episodes 10 and 12 are the really big ones for [audiences] to see this character who we all know and love actually feel emotion for another person in a way that is not typical of him,” she says. “I think what we’ve all promised you guys is that it’s not going to be a typical love story or anything we’ve seen on this show. And I think Matthew would argue that you haven’t seen a story like this at all.”

In both episodes, she adds, the show will follow up in the information audiences learned in episode 4 — that the mysterious character is “running from someone and something.” And naturally, Messer teases, “her journey collides with the team.”

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM: LET’S PLAY A GAME…

Guys, I just can’t with AHS. I mean, I can. I do. I watch. I love. But last week almost made me sick.

Luckily, there’s a little less gross-out in the next two episodes and a lot of developments. (Mind you, there are still some gross-out moments.) For a taste of what’s to come: Who’s up for a game?

+ This week, [character] will [spoiler] with [character] in the kitchen.
+ Did we know that [character] knows about [character]’s evil deeds? I don’t think we did…
+ [Character] is going to try to [spoiler] [character]!! [Her or she] might succeed…
+ Two patients will be outside Briarcliff’s walls sooner than we think. But there’s a twist…
+ As EW told you first, this week, you’ll be introduced to a character named Anne Frank (Franka Potente). (Don’t scoff, watch.) Along with making crazy accusations about [character], she’ll have [character] questioning [his or her] sanity.

Dave Navarro to guest star on 'Sons of Anarchy'

A rock star will join the rock stars who make FX’s most-watched drama.

Dave Navarro will guest star in the last two episodes of Sons of Anarchy this season as a member of the Biz Lats gang with close ties to Nero (Jimmy Smits). And here’s the added bennie of luring the famous guitarist to the motorcycle club: Navarro’s band Jane’s Addiction will do a cover of “Sympathy for the Devil” for the SOA finale.

Creator Kurt Sutter has had a particularly good time with his guest stars this season. Besides luring former Mouse House actress Ashley Tisdale to play a prostitute, Walton Goggins (Justified) played a transvestite last week.

'Sons of Anarchy': Surprise guest star discusses transformational role -- AWESOME PHOTO

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen this week’s Sons of Anarchy, stop reading now. The episode features a guest star viewers didn’t know was coming and, it’s safe to say, won’t soon forget. The actor spoke to EW about how the appearance — in both senses of the word — came about. READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy' ratings beat broadcast networks

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FX Sons of Anarchy continues its fifth season hot streak.

While broadcast shows at 10 p.m. on Tuesday are struggling to stay above a 2.0 in the adults 18-49 demo this fall, the biker drama cleared that hurdle with ease once again. All told, 4.6 million viewers tuned in and the show pulled a 2.4 in the demo, up 14 percent from last week and ranking as the fifth season’s best rating since last month’s premiere. By comparison, the broadcast nets aired CBS’ Vegas (12.1 million viewers, 2.0 in the demo), ABC’s Private Practice (6 million, 1.6) and NBC’s Parenthood (4.5 million, 1.6). This is tracking to be the highest-rated season for Sons yet.

What’s impressive is how ratings for heavily serialized cable shows like Dexter and SOA can continually grow. It’s easy to say, “NBC should have a show like Sons,” but season one ratings for Sons wouldn’t have been high enough to survive on broadcast. It’s only after being nurtured for years on FX that the series is now big enough to pose a threat.

'Sons of Anarchy': Drea de Matteo talks Wendy's return. Find out when she'll be back again.

Jax is dealing with a lot right now on Sons of Anarchy: Opie’s death, Pope’s deal, the home invasions in Charming, and getting into the escort business with Nero. His ex-wife, ex-junkie Wendy (Drea de Matteo) — who wants to work her way back into son Abel’s life — is low on Jax’s list of priorities. We’ll next see Wendy in episode 512. De Matteo participated in a conference call with reporters today. The highlights:

• On Wendy’s intentions: “I definitely don’t think I have any ulterior motives. I definitely don’t think I want to come in there and screw anybody. I think she is, probably after all of the treatment that she’s been through and now becoming a counselor herself, the healthiest of the bunch. It’s pretty crazy…. It’s like watching a child grow up, to a certain degree. I think in the very beginning of the series she was extremely, extremely vulnerable. At first she was mess, then she was sober and a raw nerve. Now she comes back with her confidence in tact and not wanting to stir any s— up except for be a responsible party. And it seems the whole entire world has imploded, and she’s gonna have a hard time maneuvering within it because nobody’s stable over there. She’s now become the face of stability (Laughs), which is kind of funny.” READ FULL STORY

'Sons of Anarchy': Ashley Tisdale explains how she was cast as a high-priced escort

On Tuesday, Ashley Tisdale’s arc as innocent-looking call girl Emma Jean on Sons of Anarchy continues. Emma Jean was last seen taking a beating from Gemma (Katey Sagal) after being discovered in a back room with Clay (Ron Perlman) at Nero’s. She may or may not have phoned the cops, who raided the brothel and arrested everyone — including Gemma. On her lunch break today from the set of Scary Movie 5 in Atlanta, Tisdale, 27, best known for Disney’s High School Musical movies, participated in a conference call with reporters. “I’m so grateful for what Disney gave me and the experiences that I got,” she said, “but at the end of the day, it’s like, I can do so much more than what I did on that channel and what I did in those movies. And it takes just one person to kind of give you that chance. And for me it was Kurt Sutter….” The highlights:

On how she got cast: “I didn’t audition for the role. I actually was just a really big fan of the show. It’s kind of a funny story. My dad, who built my house, also actually builds for Kurt Sutter and Katey Sagal, and he has for years. And I’ve been in love with the show and I’ve always been like, ‘Dad, you gotta tell Kurt…. I want to be on the show.’ My dad’s so quiet and shy. He’s like, ‘No, no, no. I can’t do that.’ And so it just so happened that Kurt was writing Emma Jean and came upstairs to the kitchen and actually asked my dad. He’s like, ‘I’ve got a favor to ask you. I would love for Ashley to be on the show.’ And my dad was like, ‘Ohmygod, she’s gonna die.’ And so he definitely thought of me for the character. But of course, my agents, at first, were like, ‘I don’t know. We have to read it.’ I’m like, ‘I gotta do it! I gotta do it!’ Because like I said, it is one of my favorite shows.” READ FULL STORY

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